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Many people find it difficult to cover their extra vacation expenses – things like gifts, to travel, and decorations. But then there are people who find it difficult to put food on the table or provide their children with clothes and other necessities. If you’re lucky enough to be able to cover your basic expenses, there are a lot of things you can do to give back this holiday season, even if you’re not particularly wealthy. Here are some options to consider.
1. Donate money
If you are on a budget, you may not have much leeway to donate money to charity. But this year, giving extra money just got a little easier.
Normally, charitable donations are not tax deductible unless you itemize them on your tax return, and if you are not the owner, the detail often doesn’t make sense. But due to the coronavirus pandemic and the CARES law that was passed in March to address it, charitable donations up to $ 300 can be deducted for 2020 tax purposes, even if you don’t itemize in this year’s statement.
Here is what it means. Normally, if you don’t itemize and donate $ 300, you get nothing back in tax savings. This year, if you donate $ 300, the IRS will not tax you $ 300 in income. If your tax rate, based on your total income, is 22%, that means you are effectively getting $ 66 back from your donation.
Of course, the numbers will still work, so you not recover most of your donation in saved taxes. But you will get the satisfaction of helping those who need the money more than you.
2. Donate goods
Maybe you aren’t able to donate money to charity this year, and that’s okay. Another option is to take inventory at home and donate lightly used clothes, toys or goods to families who may not be able to afford them. If you have young children who have outgrown certain clothes that are rarely worn, pack them carefully and take them to a local shelter or other charity. And if you still have old Christmas presents in their wrappers, consider taking them to a children’s hospital.
You can also find out about local families in need of help through social media, your city or your children’s school district, and that way you may be better able to provide more targeted help. For example, if you learn that a particular family is in need of a toddler, you will know to focus on donating baby items rather than clothes and toys for older children. .
3. Donate your unused airline miles
Numerous credit card make it easier to accumulate airline miles to use for travel. But if you’re not traveling this year, you may want to consider donating unused miles to support various causes. If you access your miles or rewards page through your credit card issuer, you should be able to find more information on how to do this.
4. Donate credit card reward points
The advantage of accumulating credit card reward points start using them to get cash back, gift cards or other things that make your life easier. But if you prefer to give back this year, you can choose to donate these rewards. Simply visit your credit card loyalty program’s charity page and see which organizations you have the option to donate directly to. And if you’re not happy with your choices, you can always cash in your rewards and donate the money or gift cards you get in return.
5. Give your time
Maybe your household is running out of money this year and you really don’t have any unnecessary clothes or possessions lying around. Likewise, maybe you’ve cut back on spending this year and don’t have any airline miles or credit card rewards to offer. If so, you can still help those in need by volunteering your time. Host a community garage sale for your neighbor who is struggling to pay the bills. Or sign up to help out at a local pantry. There are so many ways to make a difference, even if you can’t save a single dollar of your own money.
It’s always nice to be generous during the holidays, but given the pandemic, this year it’s even more important to give back. You shouldn’t hesitate to be creative with your donations, as any effort on your part could really go a long way.